Meet Our New Members – December 2023

New Lightup Impact Members December 2023

We are delighted to welcome to 25 exceptional grassroots organizations from Kenya and Uganda to our vibrant Lightup Impact Community. Learn more about them in this post.

Meet Our New Members – November 2023

New Lightup Impact Members Grassroots Organizations

We are delighted to welcome to 25 exceptional grassroots organizations from Kenya and Uganda to our vibrant Lightup Impact Community. Learn more about them in this post.

Skills Development and Innovation Program – Meet the Participants

Skills development with Lightup Impact

Usanii Village Africa and Soulevement are set to start our Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program in November 2023. This program aims to strengthen the skills and capacity of these organizations to promote their growth, visibility, and sustainability. Get to know the selected organizations by exploring their profound missions and achievements so far, and learn more about their expectations of participating in our newest program. Usanii Village Africa: Painting a peaceful future Since its foundation in 2020, Usanii Village Africa’s mission has been to create a peaceful world for children and youth through art. Bernard Molho, the founder, was inspired by the potential of art during his time in the Leadership Development Programme (Honors College) hosted by Uganda Christian in 2016. While joining the program, he was asked, “What do you want to do for your community, and why?” This got Bernard thinking about how he could make a real difference. He was already a fine arts teacher, so he knew the power of art to make people think and imagine. This became more than just a school program for Bernard; it became a way to help his community. In 2020, there were floods in Kasese district, and as many as 100 thousand people suffered, including Bernard’s family. Girls, especially, faced more challenges, like not being able to afford health kits during their periods and being sexually exploited to acquire sanitary pads. This motivated Bernard to start Usanii Village Africa. First, they made sure girls got what they needed for their periods through organizing a fundraiser with friends and well-wishers. Then, they talked to the community to better understand additional challenges and find ways to help. Now, they use art to change how people think and act, making things better for everyone. School children supported by Usanii Village Africa, pictured above, showcasing the organization’s efforts in establishing a community library and information center in Kasese District. The initiative aims to create access to educational resources and provide a safe space for children and youth to discover, learn, and realize their potential. Usanii Village Africa is involved in several impactful initiatives that have contributed significantly to social change:   Supported by The Pollination Project, Usanii Village Africa actively engages artists to raise awareness about plastic pollution.  Their distribution of sanitary pads and plans to manufacture reusable ones underscore their commitment to addressing period poverty and stigma.  Poetry and visual arts serve as powerful mediums to amplify their message.    Usanii Village Africa envisions the Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program as a gateway to enhancing their needs assessment strategy, governance style, and leadership capabilities. The organization aims to fortify its foundation, fostering sustainability and impactful social change.   Community involvement is integral to Usanii Village Africa. They plan to collaborate with art-focused organizations, envisioning a future where young people are empowered through vocational training, access to information, and environmental advocacy.  The organization plans to perform risk assessments and develop SMART objectives to ensure the longevity of its programs. Usanii Village Africa is committed to continuous learning, offering incentives, follow-up training, mentorship, and regular program evaluations. “I am greatly inspired by the fact that with artistic expression, I feel like my point of view is being heard and taken into consideration by the people around me. This has, as a founder, been an inspiration to get more involved in Usanii Village Africa as an initiative and continue to offer leadership with no pay for my time in addition to the personal resources.” – Bernard Molho Soulevement Kenya: Nurturing minds and transforming lives Soulevement Kenya, a registered community-based organization, is on a mission to provide holistic mental wellness for children and youth in Kisumu County and Western Kenya. Their individual-centered approach seeks to revolutionize mental health care in the community.  Gloria Achieng’, co-founder of Soulevement, captured alongside two of the children they support, engaging in a therapeutic painting session to promote mental health. Through programs like Jihimarishe and Tubonge, Soulevement has touched the lives of over 2 000 children and engaged 600 youths and women in skill training. Their Story Yangu initiative continues to inspire hope through online stories, emphasizing the importance of mental wellness.  Soulevement anticipates multifaceted growth through the Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program, including career advancement, improved performance, and personal development. Technical and soft skills enhancement, along with organizational acumen, are at the forefront of their expectations.  Community engagement is a cornerstone of Soulevement’s approach, sporting collaborations with institutions like Kisumu Children’s Remand Home and Compassion International. Their goal is to significantly increase access to mental health services in rural areas by 2025. Soulevement’s focus on continuous learning, incentives, follow-up training, mentorship, and program evaluation underscores its commitment to sustaining impactful initiatives. “My work is guided by the principles of providing unbiased services to the people in my community. I aim to foster a positive, inclusive, and informative environment for children and the community. I am motivated by assisting my community in obtaining the needed information through education, promoting learning, and facilitating effective communication.” – Gloria Achieng Usanii Village Africa and Soulevement are scripting stories of change in East Africa, using art and mental wellness as instruments of empowerment. As they embark on the Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program, the echo of transformation rings loud.    Learn more about Usanii Village Africa and Soulevement by visiting their websites. 

Meet Our New Members – July 2023

New Lightup Impact Members December 2023

We are happy to welcome five new changemakers from Kenya and Uganda into the Lightup Impact Community.    These changemakers are leaders of grassroots organizations working in sexual reproductive health and rights, economic empowerment, mental health, malnutrition, gender-based violence, and eradication of harmful traditional cultural practices.   With every new addition to our changemaker community, we gain local insights and expertise and expand our ability to create a social impact.    Thank you for choosing our community we are more than excited to have you on board!   Learn more about our newest members below: Kenya Founder: Brenda Alwanyi MyBody is a non-governmental organization that empowers marginalized women and girls to meaningfully participate in designing their own inclusive sexual reproductive health rights and gender-based violence prevention and response strategies, strengthening respect for human rights and body autonomy at the county and national levels. Founder: Mohamed Dika PACE-IN is a grassroots local community initiative, serving the marginalized nomadic pastoralist community of the Merti sub-county in northern Kenya. They transform and empower their community by prioritizing sustainable projects and strategies to eradicate socio-economic disparities and harmful traditional cultural beliefs and practices whose major victims are women and girls.  Founder: Nelima Baraza Paper Hearts is a community-based organization that raises awareness on issues surrounding mental health and connects people with affordable solutions. They also provide training and education on mental health,  supporting gender-responsive policies and programs. They have partnered with an organization that nurtures teen moms and offers therapy in addition to leading mental health topics in their programs. Uganda Founder: Joyce Olana At CHEE, they prevent malnutrition in children under five and those at risk of becoming malnourished and fight poverty in vulnerable communities by focusing on empowering women. Founder: Maria Gorret Nakanwagi Women in Action for Community Empowerment (W.A.C.E) is a grassroots, community-based organization improving the livelihood of women and girls, their households, and the entire community where they live. They do so by facilitating practical, financial, and entrepreneurial skills development. We look forward to creating change together and amplifying our impact!   The Lightup Impact team Get to know the rest of our members!

Meet Our New Members – June 2023

We are happy to welcome six new changemakers from Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda into the Lightup Impact Community. These changemakers are leaders of grassroots organizations working in sexual reproductive health and rights, economic empowerment, mental health, youth empowerment, gender-based violence, and mentorship. With every new addition to our changemaker community, we gain local insights and expertise and expand our ability to create a social impact. Thank you for choosing our community. We are more than excited to have you on board! Learn more about our newest members below: Kenya Founder: Zipporah Nyangara Haven of Dreams is a youth- and women-led, grassroots community organization. Their focus is on mental health and adolescent and youth empowerment. They want to help every individual achieve self-awareness, deal with intergenerational trauma, and become empowered. Founder: Mercy Kalemela GtoW is a women-led organization advocating for human rights, health, and gender-responsive actions through mentoring women and girls in the community. They strive to see women and girls at the forefront of development. Founder: Fatuma Mohamed Abdullahi Sleak Community Organization is a young, women-led non-profit organization. They focus mainly on helping women and girls in matters of health, well-being, economic empowerment, and gender equality. Founder: Gloria Achieng Soulevement is a non-profit organization with the vision to have a society with the necessary support to improve the quality of mental wellness for children, youth, and the community at large. They provide a platform for individuals to develop mental wellness through psychological and physical development, education, and skills training. Uganda Founder: Dricile Godfrey CEFTRA-WN promotes equal opportunities for women and men, sexual reproductive services, and rights for young people. They also fight harmful cultural practices against women and girls and gender-based violence. Rwanda Founder: Pacifique Uzamberumwana Voice of Women is a non-governmental organization that strives to improve teen mothers’ social and economic status, improve the living conditions of underprivileged children and their families, and fight against gender-based violence. They offer comprehensive programs in health, capacity building, agriculture, and education. We look forward to creating change together as we amplify our impact! The Lightup Impact team

Path Youth Organization: Building a Sustainable, Empowered, and Informed Generation

Path Youth is a registered community-based organization (CBO) operating in Mombasa County, Kenya, with the long-term goal of expanding its work into the greater coastal region.   This CBO was founded by a group of friends living in Likoni, Kenya, who, due to difficult circumstances, dropped out of school earlier than anticipated.   Refusing to let circumstances dictate their futures like it does many others, they decided to take control of their own education, leading to the creation of Path Youth in 2019.   They were registered as a youth group first, and later in 2022, as a CBO to help transform the lives of other eager learners. Since then, Path Youth has supported children and adolescents in and outside of school, equipping them with the knowledge and tools necessary to become a sustainable, empowered, and informed generation.   Path Youth is also a member of the Lightup Impact community — an online community of early-stage, locally-led, non-profit organizations in gender and health in East Africa.  The Path Youth Organization team Path Youth’s thematic pillars Adolescents attending the Path Youth Mentorship Program Education, leadership, and environment make up the three thematic pillars of this Organization’s teachings:    Education: Focused on removing vulnerabilities hindering learners from access to quality education, they use peer mentors to foster education among learners.    Leadership: Through mentorship and coaching, Path Youth cultivates leadership skills among adolescents and young people both in and out of school with a critical focus on building a generation of thoughtful leaders.    Environment: Sharing knowledge about environmental issues affecting their communities helps generate new ideas about appropriate solutions and encourages learners to take action e.g. recycling waste.    With these three pillars in place and the right tools at hand,  a prosperous generation can emerge to create change in and impact their communities regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. How does Path Youth work? To begin with, the sub-county director of education grants permission to Path Youth to enroll and educate learners. This process also includes a thorough evaluation of the educational programs and the selection of directors from the sub-county’s Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to lead the programs. Lastly, learners need to provide parental consent before starting at Path Youth. Path Youth engages the youth during their programs in the community Which problems are Path Youth trying to solve? The retention of students in school until completion is a significant obstacle and is often challenged by, among other things, struggles with drug and substance abuse.   Additionally, numeracy and literacy skills among learners are low, with most students unable to read and/or write at the level needed for their assigned grade.   This problem is further worsened by a high student-to-teacher ratio, leaving fewer teachers to support an overabundance of willing and able students.   Path Youth advocates for 100% enrollment/transition of students from primary to high school or from one level of education to the next – so that students are continuously progressing in their education. Team members of Path Youth attending the Lightup Impact Event on Sustainability of CBOs and NGOs in East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya Solutions Path Youth is implementing Some of their key, ongoing strategies include using play-based activities and digital tools to support the building of literacy skills and improved training of teachers and volunteers to optimize the learners’ educational experience.    Additionally, in alignment with their primary goals and objectives and using their innovative strategies, Path Youth is organizing a five-day literacy and numeracy boot camp to boost necessary skills in these areas among young learners in Likoni.    Their efforts have also been strengthened through partnership projects – all of which are available for further reading on their online platforms: Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Key achievements since 2019 Since their foundation, the Path Youth leaders have been dedicated to creating the opportunities they wish they had when they were struggling with their circumstances and education. Here are a few of their key achievements:   Supported 150 learners through various interventions, including mentorship, learning resources, and psychological and social support Higher rate of volunteer applications from teachers Improved targeting of learners through their partnership with Elimu Care, reaching learners from both the Likoni and Kisauni sub-county Successful school retention and transition of 100 learners with new knowledge and skills in navigating education and life in the 21st century Better community awareness about school retention and progression More information about the boot camp Donate The boot camp will take place in Likoni and Kisauni Sub-County in Mombasa County within one year. Learners aged 9-14 years are eligible to enroll, and they hope to enroll up to 100 learners. Throughout the boot camp, learners will have the opportunity to:   take part in engaging activities, including mentoring from professional coaches and 1-on-1 support from two volunteer teachers from the UK, learn new ways of reading, exercise their mathematic skills, and  in addition to hard skills, learn soft skills like communication, critical thinking, self-awareness, and confidence.   Every learner will receive the necessary attention and support throughout the process. Learners will be divided into groups of five, and each learner will have their grade-appropriate reading and mathematics abilities tested before commencing the boot camp.    Ten volunteer teachers will be trained before coming together in person in Likoni to discuss the best way to approach the educational materials and activities. This teacher training and the foundational programs in literacy and numeracy will be conducted by Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN).    The learners and teachers will be asked to complete an assessment to inform and improve future boot camps.  Path Youth hopes this boot camp can serve as an essential pilot for a larger-scale project of this type to learn more about integrating play and digital tools into their educational programs. Path Youth Organization sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas about issues affecting their communities Fundraising for the boot camp – how can YOU help? A big part of their success relies on the

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We increase the visibility and impact of social organizations with a focus on women’s health and gender equality in Kenya. We support the growth of our founders through tailored mentoring and networking opportunities